Thinking about switching from a BlackBerry to an Android Device...


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  1. TheBiles

    TheBiles Well-Known Member This Topic's Starter

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    I'm with Sprint, so it seems like my two main options are the HTC Hero and the Samsung Moment (currently leaning towards the Moment). I just have a few questions about Android OS that I hope you guys could answer:

    1. How is the user-interface? Do you have things like custom UIs or special themes (that do more than just change the colors)?

    2. How does the email system on Android work? I know on my BB I will receive the email just like a normal text message shortly after I receive it in my inbox. No need to "send/receive" or any of that.

    3. How's the app selection? Are there a wide variety of apps (like you see on BB)? Is there a central "App Store" like the iPhone, or can anyone put apps out there for download with multiple app stores (like BB App World and Mobihand App Store on BB)?

    4. For the Samsung Moment: How's the battey life? I don't mind having to charge it in the middle of the day, but I would like to be able to just keep it in my pocket on standby and have it still relatively fresh at the end of the day if I don't use it. My current BB battery has a discharge rate of about 4-5% per hour under light/no use and 6-7% under medium/heavy use, so I could just barely make it through a 12-hour day without charging.

    5. Also for the Moment, does it have an accelerometer and touch screen keyboard so I do not have to always use the hardware keyboard? I haven't been able to find any videos of anyone actually typing with an on-screen keyboard other than when dialing a phone number.

    6. Is updating the Android OS as simple (or as problematic, depending on how you look at it) as upgrading the BB OS? With the BB you just plug in, back up, and load any version of the OS that you want. However, you do have to do things like re-register any paid apps and most apps are reset during the process, which can be a hassle. Also, are there any custom or "hybrid" Android OS builds like with BB?

    7. How's the HTC Hero? I notice that it looks a lot nicer than the Moment. Is the slower processor that noticeable? Can anyone compare the two?

    8. Anything else I should know? Sorry for all of the questions! :D
     

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  2. GregBulmash

    GregBulmash New Member

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    I use PandaHome and I'm enjoying it. It has a number of themes, though many are manga or cutesy. I just use it to add better screen and icon management, sidebars, etc.

    Instead of push, it's poll, but the polling interval isn't too long, so you get your e-mails within a couple of minutes most times. If you need "to the second" e-mail alerts, then you need to go with something like Blackberry. Of course, with regular e-mail, the whole Sprint network would have to go down to screw up your e-mail instead of the periodic RIM outages that cut off Blackberry users for hours or days regardless of their cell connectivity.

    There are lots of apps and more coming. The central app is the Android Marketplace, but different phone makers are coming out with their own application marketplaces. There aren't as many apps as there are for iPhone or Blackberry, because they've got a headstart on Android, but it's catching up.

    Because Sprint loads it with crapware, one of the first apps you'll want to download from the marketplace is a task-killer, then set it to ignore certain apps like Calendar, Voicemail, and Mail. That will help give you decent battery life through the day.

    Also, don't run a lot of background applications. I learned the hard way to either kill my Twitter app or set it for manual updates when I wasn't tweeting/reading. The more you tax the processor, the more you run down the battery.

    The one thing is that the battery meter function is terrible. It's hard to know how much life is really left because it will stick on one number for hours and then drop 20% all at once. Make sure you condition the battery (full charge, full run-down) early on and do that periodically. You should get enough battery to run you through the day.

    Yes. And it will make clicky noises and vibrate when you hit an on-screen key so you get some feedback.

    Since I got my Moment in November, there have been three official updates. Two were over the air and painless. The last one required visiting a Sprint Store and caused a hard reset on the phone, which required re-loading all my apps from the marketplace (though it has a record of what's been bought on your account).

    To do "hybrid" or unauthorized updates, you'll have to hack/jailbreak your phone. It looks like that process is coming along for the Moment, but I don't know if anyone's installed any of the popular custom Android versions on it yet.

    It's got a better touchscreen interface (according to reviews), but there's no physical keyboard. It is slower and the screen isn't quite as bright or vivid as the Moment's AMOLED, but it's also got a bigger dedicated hacking community because HTC's been doing Android phones about as long as they've been commercially available.

    Syncing your Android phone can be a bit of a pain. When I got my Moment, my Mac wouldn't connect to it via USB. Even now that they connect, it only connects as an external drive, so any sync has to be done via special export apps and then manually copying the files off the phone or synchronization with Google's online Mail/Calendar apps.

    If you're a real road warrior, I'd say that the Moment is not ready for prime time as a real business phone. Possibly when it gets the Android 2.1 update later this year.
     
  3. TheBiles

    TheBiles Well-Known Member This Topic's Starter

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    Are the Moment and Hero not getting the 2.1 update that goes live today? Also, is there any kind of standard "desktop manager" like with BB to easily backup/restore, manage installed apps, and upgrade the device?
     
  4. GregBulmash

    GregBulmash New Member

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    Moment and Hero will get 2.1 when their respective manufacturers and Sprint have done their different bits of customization for their specific phones (i.e. carrier-specific apps, apps third parties pay them to install, locking down access to certain functions, etc.).

    There are some third party apps of varying functionality, ranging from free (Astro File Manager) to low-cost (Sprite Mobile Android Backup) to expensive (Missing Sync for Android).

    None of them are quite as useful (IMO) as Palm Desktop was for my Treo. I'm assuming Blackberry Desktop was on a par with Palm.
     
  5. TheBiles

    TheBiles Well-Known Member This Topic's Starter

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    Thanks for the input! I'd also like to hear any other opinions other than just "dude, go for it" if everyone is willing to share them. :)
     
  6. TheBrit

    TheBrit Well-Known Member

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    I don't sync direct to my desktop but sync via the cloud. The USB sync was a bit hit and miss.

    There's a free download for automatically syncing outlook on your pc to the google calendar which your android will sync to automatically.
     
  7. toomuchgame441

    toomuchgame441 Well-Known Member

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    I haven't used the Moment but I absolutely love my Hero, I love the sense, the browsing, the thousands of apps, the media player and so much more. There a few issues with the device, like keyboard lag but only with the browser. I find typing in other apps like messages, email, Twitter, Facebook and such a breeze.
     
  8. TheBiles

    TheBiles Well-Known Member This Topic's Starter

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    Yeah, I actually got my hands on both the Hero and the Moment today, and I will definitely pick up the Hero over the Moment. The Moment just seemed like a brick, and I didn't really like the slide-out keyboard.
     
  9. brykins

    brykins Well-Known Member

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    I've gone from a Blackberry Curve 8900 (via an 8310 and an 8800 and an iPhone and Windows Mobile and Palm devices) to a Hero and can put my few pennies to this:

    User interface is so, so much nicer than the Blackberry. Blackberry seems very dated now compared to my Hero. I don't know about other devices, but the Hero has HTC's Sense UI on it overlaying the standard Android and it is a joy to use.

    Very much depends on how your email is set up. I use a Gmail address as my primary address but I am not using the Gmail application on the Hero. Instead I have set up this as an IMAP account using K-9 Mail (free third party email app). I have also configured four other email accounts that I own the domains for and these are also all IMAP servers. Some IMAP servers allow PUSH email - I have that option checked on all these and I get my email on the Hero just about the instant I send it from the desktop when I send a test email. It's instant.

    If you don't have IMAP support then you have the option of POP3 as well (I use POP3 to check my Hotmail) and have that to check every ten minutes. There is an option for every five minutes - and how important can an email be that five minutes counts? Of course - you can poll manually as well.

    You can't compare BB App Store with the Android Market. BB store was, for me, awful. Very expensive apps and very few of them. Android Market has 20,000+ apps now, though as there is no regulation of the market itself, a LOT of the apps are poor, or just collections of sounds or wallpapers. However - apps are cheaper, the good ones are better than the BB ones, and you get 24hrs to claim a refund if you uninstall a paid app (I don't agree that this should be the way it is, but it is).

    You *can* install apps from anywhere - not just limited to the Market - but I have no experience of this as haven't needed to as yet.

    Yes there are custom ROMs - you need to "root" your phone (which scares me) and then there are slimmed down, optimised ROMs. As far as normal OS upgrades go - am unsure. I have heard that some get OTA updates, my son's T-Mobile Pulse had an update doanloadable from the T-Mobile web site which needed to be put on SD card and installed. Not sure how 2.x will get installed on our Heros when/if it comes.

    Can't compare as I haven't seen/used a Moment but I am very happy with my Hero. The phone itself is lovely, feels great and is probably the best phone I have ever owned.

    However - alhtough the phone is great, support/development from Google worries me a little. A lot, actually. There are the odd niggles with the OS and the standard Android apps (Calendar, Contacts, etc) that I have come accross and having researched them, can see that these were logged with Google over a year ago and nothing has been done on them. I worry that Google is pushing development to the "sizzle" and leaving the "sausage". Goggles, Voice Search, Animated Wallpapers are all well and good, once you have the basics of PIM and media functionality sorted.

    Coming from BB, you REALLY need to check the functionality of the PIM apps before making the leap - syncing to Outlook is NOT a high priority for Google as they want you contacts, etc, in the cloud floating over the Mountain View Chocolate Factory so they can look up and see what we're at. Try before you buy.
     
  10. TheBiles

    TheBiles Well-Known Member This Topic's Starter

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    Well I NEVER sync with Outlook, so I guess that won't have to worry about that!
     

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